PROSITE documentation PDOC00131
recA family signature and profiles


The bacterial recA protein [1,2,3] is essential for homologous recombination and recombinational repair of DNA damage. RecA has many activities: it filaments, it binds to single- and double-stranded DNA, it binds and hydrolyzes ATP, it is also a recombinase and, finally, it interacts with lexA causing its activation and leading to its autocatalytic cleavage.

RecA is a protein of about 350 amino-acid residues. Its sequence is very well conserved [3,4,5] among eubacterial species. It is also found in the chloroplast of plants [6].

The recA protein is closely related to:

  • Eukaryotic RAD51 protein. Promotes homologous pairing and strand exchange on chromatin.
  • Eukaryotic DMC1 protein. Participates in meiotic recombination.
  • Prokaryotic radA protein. Involved in DNA repair and in homologous recombination.
  • Bacteriophage uvsX gene product. Important in genetic recombination, DNA repair, and replication.

As a signature pattern specific for the bacterial and chloroplastic recA protein, we selected the best conserved region, a nonapeptide located in the middle of the sequence and which is part of the monomer-monomer interface in a recA filament.

We also developed two profiles. The first one covers the ATP binding domain in the N-terminal part of the recA protein. The second one span the whole monomer-monomer interface. These two profiles also pick up the recA-like proteins.

           Eisen J.A.;
Expert(s) to contact by email:

Roca A.I.;

Last update:

December 2012 / Profile revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

RECA_2, PS50162; RecA family profile 1  (MATRIX)

RECA_3, PS50163; RecA family profile 2  (MATRIX)

RECA_1, PS00321; recA signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsSmith K.C. Wang T.-C.
TitlerecA-dependent DNA repair processes.
SourceBioEssays 10:12-16(1989).
PubMed ID2653307

2AuthorsLloyd A.T. Sharp P.M.
TitleEvolution of the recA gene and the molecular phylogeny of bacteria.
SourceJ. Mol. Evol. 37:399-407(1993).
PubMed ID8308907

3AuthorsRoca A.I. Cox M.M.
SourceProg. Nucleic Acids Res. Mol. Biol. 56:129-223(1997).

4AuthorsKarlin S. Weinstock G.M. Brendel V.
TitleBacterial classifications derived from recA protein sequence comparisons.
SourceJ. Bacteriol. 177:6881-6893(1995).
PubMed ID7592482

5AuthorsEisen J.A.
TitleThe RecA protein as a model molecule for molecular systematic studies of bacteria: comparison of trees of RecAs and 16S rRNAs from the same species.
SourceJ. Mol. Evol. 41:1105-1123(1995).
PubMed ID8587109

6AuthorsCerutti H.D. Osman M. Grandoni P. Jagendorf A.T.
TitleA homolog of Escherichia coli RecA protein in plastids of higher plants.
SourceProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89:8068-8072(1992).
PubMed ID1518831

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